In south-west France, the Dordogne valley offers a wide range of activities. Not far from Vézère valley and its famous Lascaux caveThe Dordogne valley, in the Périgord Noir region, is home to several of the world's largest rivers. Most Beautiful Villages in France as well as listed sites such as Château de Beynac, Château de Castelnaud and Château des Milandes! It is also listed as aUNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve. With the family or with friends, the Dordogne valley is sure to win you over!

History and geography of the Dordogne valley

Where is the Dordogne valley?

Did you know? The Dordogne is also river name ! It begins at Puy de Sancy and joins the Garonne, passing through Corrèze and Lot, in the south-west of France. The Dordogne valley forms a unique landscape, including oak forests, to which the Dordogne river flows. Black Périgord refers to. The Dordogne valley adjoins the Vézère valley inhabited by man for over 400,000 years. In fact, the Vézère valley is home to some of the world's most famous archaeological sites. Paleolithic Lascaux cave, Combarelles cave, etc.

A little history

Visit Middle AgesThe Dordogne valley was developing economically. It was also the scene of clashes between France and England. They gave rise to the villages and bastides of Périgord, some of which have been awarded the Most Beautiful Villages in France :

  • La Roque-Gageac ;
  • Domme ;
  • Castelnaud ;
  • Belvès ;
  • Beynac-et-Cazenac.

The Dordogne Valley: recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO

Since July 2012, the Dordogne valley in the Périgord Noir region has been classified by theUNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve. This label rewards the efforts made to conserve biodiversity and manage tourism responsibly. 

The Dordogne valley along the river

Thinking of an alternative to traditional tourism to visit the Dordogne valley? Why not sail on the river? 

In a motorboat or in a canoeYou can explore the landscapes and admire the villages along the Dordogne. From gabarre excursionsa traditional freight boat, are offered along the river.

The green route for cycling through the Dordogne valley

For cycling enthusiasts, the Dordogne valley is criss-crossed by several cycle paths. Enjoy nature and its heritage at a peaceful pace, away from the road.

The greenway, built on the old railway line from Sarlat, winds along the Dordogne, in the shade of forests and cliffs. In the heart of the Périgord Noir region, this route combines outdoor activities with relaxation. with your family

Castles to visit in the Dordogne valley

A trip to the Dordogne valley, in the south-east of the Périgord Noir, also means visiting some extraordinary châteaux. Follow the guide!

Castelnaud-la-Chapelle Castle

Built on a rocky spur overlooking the Dordogne valley, the château offers spectacular views of the surrounding area and Beynac château. The castle was built in the 12th century and served as a fortified place for the local lords. Today, the fortress houses the Musée de la Guerre au Moyen-Âge (Museum of War in the Middle Ages). An exceptional collection of weapons and armour awaits you, as well as period war machines.

Beynac Castle

Built in 1180, Château de Beynac is one of the largest and oldest medieval fortresses in the Dordogne valley. After wandering through the narrow streets of the village, you can visit the castle and admire the right bank of the Dordogne, as well as Castelnaud castle, from the top of its steep cliff. 

Les Milandes castle 

The gardens and château of Les Milandes, which date back to the 15th century, are well worth a visit during your stay in the Dordogne Valley and Périgord Noir. The gardens, listed as a Monument Historique, are well worth a visit! Another anecdote: the Château des Milandes is world-famous for having been the home of the famous dancer and singer Joséphine Baker.

Visiting the Dordogne valley: family activities

Tourism in the Dordogne valley, in the Périgord Noir, is ideal for family holidays.

Gardens of Marqueyssac

Framing a castle with a magnificent lauze roof, these listed gardens dating from the early 19th century offer a 6 km walk with more than 150,000 boxwoods hand-worked stone huts and rock gardens. 

The bamboo grove at La Roque-Gageac

Another unusual visit to the Périgord Noir and the Dordogne valley is the bamboo grove at La Roque-Gageac. This botanical garden is located in the heart of theone of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. Stroll through the 3 hectares and admire this Asian plant which can measure up to 30 m: bamboo!

Domme, one of France's most beautiful villages

Not to be missed on your visit to the Dordogne Valley: the village of Domme. With its market hall, towers, ramparts and cave, the village is a jewel of the Périgord Noir.

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